Innovation Week To Showcase, Encourage Student Ingenuity

North Dakota State University and the NDSU Research and Technology Park will host the fourth annual Innovation Week, Feb. 26-28, to showcase and encourage student ingenuity.

The week includes an innovation competition for students, educational sessions and networking opportunities. The events are free and open to all NDSU students, faculty and staff as well as the public.

“The goal of Innovation Week is to make students aware that creating a new idea can lead to a start-up venture and that entrepreneurship is a career option to consider,” said Brenda Wyland interim executive director of the NDSU Research and Technology Park. “We also want to educate students on the resources available and connect them with entrepreneurs who have been where they are now.”

A highlight of Innovation Week is the second annual Innovation Challenge. Twenty-two student teams will present their ideas for new, progressive products, services or corn-based innovations. The top innovation in each category will win $5,000. The best-in-show team will win an additional $5,000.

Last year’s Innovation Challenge yielded numerous entrepreneurial ideas, including a novel dental implant, aphasia therapy for people with a language processing disorder and a coating for industrial application.

“Innovation is the key to solving the world’s problems, creating jobs and stimulating economic growth,” said Provost J. Bruce Rafert. “Innovation Week showcases the exciting work our students are doing and brings people on campus and from the community together to brainstorm and share.

Innovation Week events include:

Kick-off breakfast
A kick-off breakfast that will include networking and table discussions is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 26, 7:30-9 a.m., at the Technology Incubator, 1854 NDSU Research Circle North. To register, visit

Educational sessions
Brown bag lunches that will feature local entrepreneurs and business professionals will be Feb. 26-28, 12:15-1 p.m., in the Memorial Union Century Theater. Bring your own brown bag lunch.

Oral presentations, poster viewing and People’s Choice Award voting
On Wednesday, Feb. 27, Innovation Challenge teams will give their oral presentations in the Memorial Union Prairie and Hidatsa rooms from 8:30 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. The teams’ posters will be on display in the Memorial Union Plains room from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Faculty, staff, students and the public may vote for a team to win the People’s Choice Award of $1,000. Voting is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Memorial Union Plains room.

Keynote address and awards ceremony
The week will culminate with a keynote address and awards ceremony for the Innovation Challenge on Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Memorial Union Great Plains Ballroom. Randal Pinkett, entrepreneur, scholar and author, will present the Innovation Week keynote address. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and the keynote address will start at 5 p.m. The awards ceremony will follow.

Pinkett is the founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar management consulting and information technology solutions firm. He is the author of several books, including “Campus CEO.” He holds five academic degrees and was the first and only African-American to receive the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship at Rutgers University. He was also the winner of NBC’s reality television show, “The Apprentice,” with Donald Trump. To register for the keynote address and awards ceremony, visit

NDSU is a student-focused, land-grant, research university listed among the top 108 research universities in the nation by the Carnegie Foundation.

The NDSU Research and Technology Park and Technology Incubator are home to fast-paced, high-growth companies that promote technology-based economic development in North Dakota. The companies compete globally or have the potential to. To operate within the park or Technology Incubator, a company needs to be involved in the advancement and development of new technology and be willing to establish a working relationship with NDSU. The companies work in the fields of material sciences, biosciences and life science technology, information technology, nanotechnology, and advanced manufacturing and sensors/micro-electronics.